Article

Asena Atilla Saunders
Asena Atilla Saunders 8 February 2017
Categories Technology

The Blurred Line Between Apps & Mobile Sites

There have been countless debates about mobile sites vs. mobile apps. Some defend that, a mobile friendly website is enough; others say that mobile apps have user experience that a mobile site cannot provide. Who should we listen to and do we have to choose one over the other?

There have been countless heated debates about mobile sites and mobile apps. Some defend that, a mobile friendly website is enough; others say that mobile apps have user experience that a mobile site cannot provide. Who should we listen to, or do we have to choose one?

Today, consumers are spending more than 85% of their time on their smart phones using native apps. However the majority of their time, 84%, is spent using five of their favoruite apps. Also creating app loyalty is quite a challenge as 69% of users return to apps 10 times or less a month. If you are not one of the big guys that already have loyal users or your app is not in one of the five favourite apps of a particular user, you just might need to look for other solutions without losing the features of an application.

Luckily, recent technology developments attempt to bridge the gap between a mobile app and web. Google has first introduced us to App Indexing which is the process of indexing mobile apps in order to make them appear in the Google Search.  App Indexing became an intersection of SEO for apps and mobile sites through Deep Linkingallowing mobile apps to be easily found by users through a simple Google search. In addition App Indexing, Google has launched a couple initiatives intending to enhance the mobile web user experience closer to native apps such as:

  • Progressive Web Apps (PWA) which makes webpages function like mobile apps,
  • Android Instant Apps which allows users to use certain features without installing the entire app, and
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which significantly speed up content load times on the mobile web.

Let’s take a closer look at Progressive Web Apps which offer us the widest range of solutions of all. PWA can basically be conceived as a hybrid of web pages and mobile apps that enable users to have native app-like experiences for the web. With PWA we can say that your mobile website basically becomes your app without any requirements of downloading or paying for the app.

PWA allows users to have the same experience like the look and functionality such as;

  • Sending Push Notifications to the users,
  • Having offline accessibility that enables the app to continue running in the background and tracks users’ activities and behaviours,
  • Enabling users to add a shortcut to their devices’ home screens,
  • Having highly responsive layout that fits any desktop, mobile device and tablets
  • Handling hardware access such as Geolocation, Camera and Microphone
  • Ensuring lower data usage
  • Providing fast load times and eliminating many of the steps required to access certain types of information or features directly from a website 

Web Push Notifications are Here, too

In addition to PWA technology, Web Push Notifications also enable to send push notifications without the users installing any app.  Web Push allows visitors who come to your website to opt-in, in order to receive notifications on their mobile and/or desktop devices with wider reach across browsers. By just allowing, they are subscribed. To learn more about Web Push, you can read our article here.

What this means for Digital Marketers

As mobile apps and mobile websites become closer regarding “the feel” and functionality, their ability to reach new customers will increase, and providing better user experience for the new and current users will become essential. At this point, mobile marketers have to make sure they have the right marketing strategies they need, to effectively communicate with the users on every platform. They need to provide omni-channel communication solutions to reach customers, to engage, retain, and monetize their web and mobile audience.

 

Frank Viljoen
Frank Viljoen

A mobile website is sufficient as long as it's built correctly. Mobile App certainly provides more functional features, however can be costly. Lots of us would like to drive a sports car, not all of us can afford it!

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